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Shishio Makoto ( () () () 真実 (まこと) ?) is the primary antagonist of the Kyoto arc and a former Ishin Shishi hitokiri known within the ranks as the Battōsai's successor. But after his "comrades" in the government attempted and failed to assassinate him, Shishio Makoto spent the next decade slowly amassing power and developing an anti-government militia headed by his own private group of elite warriors - the Juppongatana.


Shishio before being burnt

Shishio has red eyes. Before his attempted execution, Shishio had black eyebrows, and black slicked-back hair ending in a high ponytail, and a fair complexion. After being burned, Shishio's skin is brown and cracked, sometimes appearing red. He wears bandages around his entire body to ease the pain and hide his deformity. The remains of his hair sticking out of his head bandages in tufts. Over his bandages, he wears a robe, which varies from indigo to purple depending on the lighting. Both before and after his immolation, Shishio tended to wear his kimono with the right side of his chest and right arm exposed.


Shishio is extremely ruthless, sadistic, and coldblooded. He strongly believes in the concept of social Darwinism, in which the weak exist for the benefit of the strong, and generally appears devoid of compassion or mercy throughout the series.

However, he is not entirely heartless. Despite his sinister nature, he seems genuinely in love with Yumi Komagata, who reciprocated the feelings. He also possesses a dark and twisted sense of humor, claiming initially to Kenshin that he had enslaved an entire town so he could bathe in the hot springs with privacy. He was also able to form bonds to a degree with Sōjirō and Hōji. Despite this, he still sees them as a means to an end. He showed no sadness when Sōjirō chose to leave him, only seeing him as a tool that weakened Kenshin. However, Shishio seems to be a man of honor as he kept his promise to Hōji that he would let him taste victory by his side when he reunited with him and Yumi in hell and planned to take it over.

Shishio displays an extraordinary level of intelligence and insight, leaving the impression of an evil mastermind. He is extremely crafty, being able to hide from the Meiji government despite their efforts to find him, and his plans nearly succeed in bringing them down. He is also quite manipulative and is skilled in exploiting a person's psychology to facilitate his own devices, such as he does with Usui and Aoshi. He also learns from his mistakes; after his brush with death from being knocked out with a bullet to the head, he takes to wearing a hachigane (iron headband) to keep that weakness from being exploited.


Hōji was his faithful second-in-command who is disillusioned by the Meiji Government. After committing suicide, as a result of Shishio's demise, he joins Shishio and Yumi in hell, and the trio plan to take over hell from Lord Enma (aka Yemma).
Shishio met Sojiro when he was an abused child. While still suffering burns, Sojiro provided him with food and bandages. Shishio gave him a wakizashi in return for nursing him, which he used to kill his oppressive family. He was then trained by Shishio to be his top henchman in the Juppongatana.
A former courtesan, Yumi was drawn towards Shishio's ideals and hatred for the Meiji government, soon falling in love after meeting him.
Only one year older than Kenshin, Shishio became the successor to Kenshin and also a rival to him. In the sequel to the Rurouni Kenshin live-action film, Shishio refers to Kenshin as senpai.


Homura Dama

Shishio is one of the deadliest warriors to have ever lived. A master swordsman, his sword strikes are highly precise. He was able to cut one of his soldiers in half by quickly unsheathing and sheathing his blade without it being seen leaving the scabbard. As the successor to the Hitokiri Battōsai, his prowess in battle is at least on par with Himura Kenshin's; he is shown to be able to match the latter in a great Battōjutsu struggle.

Despite the severe burning damage to his body, Shishio's might remains as powerful as ever, if not having grown stronger. Shishio's raw might border on inhuman. Also, like Kenshin, he excels at seeing through his opponent's nature and reading their attack patterns, and likewise effectively counter an enemy's attack after seeing it once if not neutralize the threat completely. Combining these remarkable traits, Shishio was able to stop Kenshin's Ryushōsen using his fingers, dodge and counter Saitō's Gatotsu Zeroshiki at point-blank, see through Shinomori Aoshi's Jisen-Kenbu, and take Sagara Sanosuke's Futae no Kiwami without injuries. He even took a five-hit combo, followed by a direct hit from Kuzuryūsen from Kenshin while still able to stand and battle on. However, each event happened while the respective opponent was already injured or battle-worn from a recent fight, preventing them from fighting at full capacity. Most remarkable in his sheer stamina and resilience was his ability to take Kenshin's most potent technique, Amakakeru Ryū no Hirameki, without it putting him out ultimately.

Shishio's hand-to-hand combat

While preferring to strike his foe down fast with his blade, Shishio has remarkable hand-to-hand combat prowess and raw strength as he took down Sanosuke, a man well known for his remarkable endurance and near-superhuman strength, with one strike, and injured Saitō by stabbing the latter's shoulder with his fingers.

Shishio's sword, like Kenshin's Sakabatō, is an ultimate creation of the master weaponsmith Arai Shakkū, Mugenjin ( () (げん) (じん) , "Infinity Blade"). It can be considered the sibling and antithesis to the sakabatō: Whereas the sakabatō is regarded as a holy sword created to safeguard all life and symbolize the newfound peace of the Meiji era, the Mugenjin is an ultimate tool of killing. It is designed to kill continuously, and with the utmost severity in its slicing power, thanks to its self-sharpening serrated edge flaked away in a regular pattern. The lethality of this blade is further increased by the proper soaking of it in the flesh and body fat of the victims he had killed over the years. As a result, he can execute fire-oriented techniques using the oils as fuel.

Shishio uses Mugenjin to execute techniques referred to by Hōji as the "Three Secret Swords": Despite this, these techniques appear as more of dirty tricks as they require the use of flammable materials he must carry on himself.

  • Ichi no Hiken: Homura Dama ( (いち) () (けん) (ホむら) (だま) lit. "First Secret Sword: Blazing Soul"?) - This is the technique Shishio has used the most. He created sparks from the frictions between the blade and sheath, to ignite the human fats; this serves to distract the opponent from his swings. The result is being simultaneously burned and slashed; even if the opponent dodges the actual blade, the flame extends the range and effect of the swing. However if the sword were cleaned; the technique is useless.
  • Ni no Hiken: Guren Kaina ( () () (けん) () (れん) (かいな) lit. "Second Secret Sword: Crimson Lotus Upper Arm"?) - Shishio fills his gauntlets with gunpowder, and ignites them with the sparks caused by the Mugenjin. Thus resulting in an explosion. Guren Kaina yields a lot of force and is usually performed while his opponent is at close-range, preferably in his grip. While often, this would likely result in damaging the user's hand, Shishio's inhuman resilience can compensate for it.
  • Tsui no Hiken: Kaguzuchi ( (つい) () (けん) () () () () lit. "Last Secret Sword: Fire Bearing Spirit God"?) - The ultimate technique in Shishio's arsenal. He activates it by scraping his blade from the base to the tip on the end of the sheath, creating a small fire-cyclone around the edge, then slashing at the enemy, which engulfs them in a pillar of fire. Thus, he can incinerate them entirely while cutting through them. While Kaguzuchi was not fully unveiled in the battle against Kenshin due to Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki's vacuum effect disrupting Shishio from executing the attack, the special manga one-shot, '''To Rule Flame''', reveals the full extent of the technique. The Kaguzuchi (actually Kagutsuchi) is the name of the Shinto god of fire.
    • Note: In the Rurouni Kenshin: Enjou! Kyoto Rinne video game, when Shishio makes contact with his Kaguzuchi, the flames rise upward and form a giant pillar or wall of fire, sending the opponent upward while severely burning him at the same time. In the video game J-Stars Victory Vs., has Shishio simply slam the blade engulfed in said flame in front of him for a few hits, shattering the ground in front of himself.
  • Mugenjin Senkū ( () (げん) (じん) (せん) (くう) "Infinity Blade Whirling Air"?) - A technique only seen in J-Stars Victory Vs. as one of Shishio's special moves (his forward + circle special), which involves him running at his opponent in a reckless dash while dragging the Mugenjin along the ground to create friction. During the rush, he can ram into his opponent for multiple hits, and ends the dash with a spiraling uppercut slash from a jump from the flaming friction generated from him dragging his blade along the ground. This move can also be performed during a dash with much less startup compared to the standard version. While not officially named, its basis appears to be inspired by a similar series of attacks used in the anime during the first minutes of his battle against Kenshin.

Unique Weakness - Extreme Hyperthermia[]

For all of his power and skill, Shishio had a fatal weakness: Because he was set on fire, nearly all his sweat glands were burned. As a result of this, his body temperature is at a higher level than that of a normal human being, both to his blessings and curses; he alludes to this being the "fires of hell" raging within him. Therefore, once he engaged in battle or extreme physical activity, his body heat rose far above normal levels and is strictly limited to 15 minutes.

Symptoms of pushing his bodily limits:

  • Before 15 minutes: Normal, healthy state
  • After 15 minutes: Normal, healthy state, however, reached limits of high body temperature
  • After 20 minutes: Extreme, searing insatiable pain from within the body, nausea, delirium, psychotic episodes, heatstroke
  • After 22-23 minutes: Evaporation of bodily fluids, cognitive disequilibrium due to high body temperature
  • After 25 minutes: Ignition of fats and oils of the body into flame, death

Though Hōji believed Shishio's body heat contributed to his power as a warrior, it became his downfall, as he spontaneously combusted after 25 minutes in battle.


Betrayal and rise to power[]

After the death of Yukishiro Tomoe, Himura Kenshin was relieved of secretive assassination missions and was to fight the Shinsengumi in the open to protect members of the Ishin Shishi, who were being hunted by the Shinsengumi, Shishio Makoto became his successor as a serial killer and was responsible for the assassination/murder of I'izuka, the man who had betrayed the Chōshū party. The next Meiji government was more secretive about Shishio than Kenshin; many members of the Chōshū and Satsuma clans (the members of the next Meiji government) had very little information on him. However, unlike Kenshin, who was nobler and was focused on the well-being of innocent people, Shishio only cared for power, having decided to take the country for himself after his first job of killing, murdering, and slaughtering Iizuka. As a result, the Meiji government decided to use Shishio as a means to an end then kill him off.

Shishio defeats Usui.

Later, the new Meiji government believed it would be in their best interests to eliminate Shishio. While they had found Kenshin Himura to be an idealistic servant of the Imperialist cause, Okubo and other Meiji officials correctly concluded that Shishio was an opportunistic sociopath, who would undoubtedly use his vast knowledge of government secrets to plunge the country into turmoil for his gain. Thus, during the Boshin War, Shishio was knocked out from a blow to the head, then doused in oil and burned alive by the Ishin Shishi. He survived, sustaining severe damage to his entire body to the point that he must wear bandages day and night to cover his disfigured skin, giving him an appearance similar to that of a mummy. It also limited the time he could fight. Any battle that surpassed fifteen minutes placed him in jeopardy of undergoing spontaneous combustion due to his lack of sweat glands and abnormal rising body temperatures (although it is unlikely that a human would survive long enough, in that condition, to spontaneously consumed by fire).

Shishio, with the aid of a man named Sadojima Hōji, assembled a group of the best fighters in Japan, called the Juppongatana (Ten Swords), to overthrow the Meiji government. He envisioned a Japan ruled by him, enforcing the principles of Social Darwinism. Using this belief, Shishio ran a campaign against the Meiji government, as he felt it was too weak to lead the country effectively. Using his motto, "The weak are food for the strong," he molded an ideological disciple out of Seta Sōjirō, who served as his right-hand man and the strongest of the Juppongatana. He planned to strengthen the economy with petroleum once he took over the country. At some point, he met Komagata Yumi, whom he shared a romantic relationship with.

Kyoto Arc[]

Kenshin and Saitō Hajime both spend a considerable amount of time looking for Shishio, meeting him once in Shingetsu Village. However, Shishio left soon after they found him. After the ordeal in Shingetsu village, Kenshin ventured onward to Kyoto, where they would have their duel. Upon arriving in Kyoto, Kenshin searched for the swordsmith Arai Shakku to forge a superior sakabatō. Shakkū died during the ten years that Kenshin had last seen him, and found his son Arai Seiku as head blacksmith instead. Kenshin instead sought after his former mentor Hiko Seijuro XIII but discovered Seikū's predicament, which involved one of the members of the Juppongatana (Ten Swords): Sawagejo Cho.

Shishio shows Hōji his hell-like powers.

After defeating and arresting Chō, he revealed that Shishio had planned to have the Ten Swords burn down Kyoto. However, Kenshin and Saitō find that the plan to burn down Kyoto was just a diversion, and Shishio's real intention was to use a steel-plated battleship, Rengoku ("Purgatory") that Hōji had purchased for him to attack Tokyo. Kenshin, Saitō, and Sagara Sanosuke pursue and intercept Shishio in a harbor not far from his target; And using a set of explosives Sanosuke obtained from his long-time friend, Tsukioka Tsunan, destroys the Rengoku. However, Shishio, Sōjirō, Hōji, and Yumi, escape.

Although his plan was foiled, Shishio was still not beaten, and instead arranged a duel to the death at Mount Hiei. He knew that Kenshin, Saitō, and Sanosuke travel there the next morning. While they were doing so, however, Shishio sent most of the Juppongantana out to kill Kenshin's friends at the Aoi-Ya, keeping only his most reliable subordinates with him, and Shinomori Aoshi who had allied himself to Shishio to get to Kenshin. The members of the Ten Swords sent to the Aoi-Ya, however, were all defeated.

After defeating Aoshi and Sōjirō, Kenshin faced Shishio himself. Kenshin had been worn out and injured from his consecutive fights with Aoshi and Sōjirō, and Shishio knocked him out fairly quickly. Saitō entered and ambushed Shishio, attempting to kill with a blow to the head. However, Shishio's hachigane (a headband containing a metal plate to cover the temple) stopped the attack, after which he quickly blocked every move Saitō used against him and defeated him. Sanosuke also entered to fight Shishio, but lost and could not even injure Shishio, despite landing a direct Futae no Kiwami to the face. Finally, Aoshi came and managed to stall Shishio long enough for Kenshin to regain consciousness.

The two continued their fight to its climax, and to the point that Kenshin unleashed his most powerful attacks. After the overwhelming blow that was the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki, Shishio's body started to overheat to dangerous levels, convulsing and becoming physically ravaged internally. At that point, Yumi intervened, standing in the way of a blow from Kenshin. Taking advantage of his moment of vulnerability, Shishio ran his sword through Yumi in an attempt to hit Kenshin, and Kenshin, critically wounded on the floor by the stab, became appalled at Shishio for betraying his lover. Still, Shishio remarked that he understood that he did what Yumi wanted of him, which was, in fact, the case. As he held his lover in her final and last moments, Shishio barked back that he has no right to judge them, and that even though the two are seriously hurt, the first who would stand back up and dealt the next attack would be the day's victor.


While Kenshin laid on the floor, bleeding heavily and weakly, Shishio sat in delirium and intense heat, unaware that his blood was boiling into fine vapor. As Shishio got back up and was to kill Kenshin, they clashed in a final standoff, as Kenshin refused to let go of the will to live. Retorting back that all are for himself to feast upon and appearing to have the upper hand, eventually, Shishio's body heat rose to the point where his blood evaporated, and the fat and oils in his body ignited. Screaming out in pain and surprise in his death throes, Shishio laughed in hysteria and defeated madness at how time chose Kenshin as the victor. The result as Shishio was ultimately consumed by his flame and continued to burn until all that became of him, and Yumi, was ash.

He is later seen in hell with Yumi and Hōji (who committed suicide in jail), commenting that the spirits of the times and the world took away his victory in fear of his ambitions; now in hell, they would try and take it over soon as the next best thing.

He is once again seen in the Jinchuu arc, as one of Kenshin's illusions of hell, where the latter offers him his life, after the supposed death of Kaoru. In response, Shishio tells Kenshin that before he kills him, Kenshin must discard everything he believes in and fight for.

Shin Kyoto Hen[]

In this incarnation of the series, Shishio's hometown is revealed to be Shingetsu Village. Having taken over his hometown to enact his ambitions after disillusioned by the Meiji Government's act of rule and his assassination, it is one of force and subjugation through violence, being still the way he sees the world truly acting its wills on and hiding through the facade of goodwill and benevolence.

Having fled back to the Shrine of the Six Torii, Shishio and Yumi proceed to embrace the act of fornication. Still, they are interrupted by an opportunistic Usui who attacks them in the middle of their romance. The next day, Shishio is agitated, knowing that Usui killed fifty police officers handpicked by Saitō. Hearing that Usui has killed, murdered, and slaughtered that many to prove himself now worthy of taking on Shishio, he ultimately rips his armaments apart in the heat of battle and viciously strikes at all openings, and proceeds to grip Usui's head with his searing hot hands to burn the image of him into his mind as a reminder of his failure to defeat him before passing into the afterlife.

At the end of the episodes, he chooses Anji to be his guard and boards the Rengoku with Yumi. Learning of Saitō's arrival by infiltration, he urges Yumi for their prey to make their way straight to their trap. He engages in a fierce duel with him, but easily overcomes Saitō in battle, and declaring him not of worth to kill, awaiting only the Battousai.

As Himura makes his way through the depths of the Rengoku, Shishio engages his predecessor and tells him of blades that they wield are both of the same maker. Unlike the manga and anime incarnation, he faces off against Kenshin Himura at full strength and unhindered by any previous combatants. Learning that his trump to rule Japan now faces irreversible jeopardy upon its demise, being bombarded with cannon fire by the military, he plans to kill Kenshin with the flames of hell that burn within him. Still, his limits come to the surface as his head begins to rupture violently due to the hot steam within his body boiling to where it will burst out of him. Continuing fighting to the death with Himura, he delivers a deadly attack by impaling Kenshin's shoulder with the Mugenjin but is ultimately defeated when Kenshin performs a variation of the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki, slamming his hilt onto Shishio's forehead to where it splits his head apart while aggravating his condition. Now wholly thrown off his guard, forcibly putting his split head back together in a great deal of pain, Yumi rushes to his aid and pushes him out of the way, before the boiler explodes, ending the duel entirely. After the explosion that has rendered the Rengoku useless, Shishio has died, and his remains are lost in the last blast that sinks the ship completely.


Watsuki said that his editor wanted him to do "a big story," leading him to create Shishio. Therefore, according to him, Shishio had no model for his personality. He originally intended for Shishio to be motivated for revenge since it would make it easier for him to express Shishio's grief towards the government. However, Watsuki believed that this would make the story "smaller in scale." Therefore, he had Shishio motivated for revenge and a desire to conquer and thus making him destructive like that of Serizawa Kamo of the Shinsengumi. The author of Rurouni Kenshin believes that some influence from Genjuro Kibagami of Samurai Shodown II (ShinSamurai Spirits) appeared in Shishio. The visual model for Shishio is Aonuma Shizuma of Inugami Ke no Ichizoku ("The Inugami Family"); Watsuki saw this film as a child and took influences from it. When it was decided that Shishio would be burned on much of his body, Watsuki thought of a rubber mask similar to the one that Shizuma has. He decided against this idea since he felt it would be difficult to realistically convey rubber in black and white, because he thought he could not portray "the sheer agony" of Shishio's condition, and because it would be more difficult for Watsuki to draw Shishio's expressions. Ultimately he decided to have Shishio wear bandages. Since Watsuki felt having the character simply wrapped in bandages would not "be exciting," the bandages on Shishio's face became crisscrossed, making what Watsuki describes as "weird headgear," and otherwise "fancied" the design. He wanted Shishio to be "cool, like Kibagami," so he added a "sexy companion," a pipe, a folding screen, an umbrella. Shishio's "Homura Dama" technique is original to the series. At the same time, the "Guren Kaina" is, in Watsuki's words, "pretty much a rip of "Daibaku Satsu," a move by the "Shura" Kazuki Kazama character in Samurai Shodown IV (Samurai Spirits: Amakusa's Descent, TenSamu).

In Volume 17, Watsuki stated that he thought, in retrospect, that Shishio was his version of "the appeal of evil." He explained that Shishio would not compromise his beliefs under any circumstances, has no objections to "using others as a means to an end," and seeks "absolute power" "with ruthless abandon." He explained that Shishio "is his kind of ideal" and that he is an "anti-hero." Watsuki enjoyed drawing Shishio in his final fight with Kenshin. He felt that he could not bring the scene of Shishio's death as it appeared in his mind. He believes, "with some confidence," that the view of Shishio in hell walking across a pile of skeletons is "as good a dramatization of a villain in RuroKen that we're ever going to get." Watsuki said that he would never write in character like Shishio in all of the series he writes, but he planned to create a similar role in another series

In history, police were forbidden from entering the Mount Hiei temple grounds, so criminals gathered there and claimed that they were there for "religious enlightenment." Because of this, Watsuki located Shishio's hideout on Mount Hiei in Rurouni Kenshin. Shishio was very loosely based on the original lead commander of the Shinsengumi, Serizawa Kamo.

In live-action film[]

In July 2013, it was announced Tatsuya Fujiwara is playing Shishio in the sequels to the Rurouni Kenshin live-action film. He previously played Yagami Light in the Death Note films. Yusuke Iseya was rumored to cast as Shishio before he played Shinomori Aoshi.

In a flashback during Kyoto Inferno, it is revealed that Shishio was a massive asset to the Government victory during the Boshin war, sharing the battleground with others such as Saitō. However, after the final battle, he was betrayed when about five of his comrades ran up to congratulate his prowess, and instead impaled him on their swords, before throwing him to the ground and stabbing him multiple times again. They then set his body on fire and left him for dead in the snow. Their reasoning; even though he was valuable during the war, his assassinations and disregard for life, including that of his comrades, were so brutal that the government felt his existence and history would discredit them. Since the war was over, he was no longer necessary to them anyway.

Hours (or days) later, Shishio somehow awoke alive, still face down in the snow, charred so profoundly from the flames that his sweat glands were destroyed along with most of his skin. Managing to crawl to safety, he disappeared into the criminal underworld for several years, where he was bandaged and clothed, and where he recruited his team of mercenaries made up of individuals who had tragic pasts similar to his own (he may have liberated some himself), including the once-prostitute love interest Yumi.

Eventually revealing himself to the world and to those who had wronged him, Shishio discovered that Saitō Hajime had become a police officer. Seeing Saitō as an enemy, Shishio decided to raid and burn down one of Saitō's compounds with a small group of attackers, where they managed to capture and hold hostage some of the latter's men, tying them up individually and suspending them from the ceiling above the flames. Once on scene, Saitō attempted to fight through Shishio's men to get to Shishio himself but failed to do so once Shishio signaled for his men to release the hostages into the fire, to their demise, before casually walking out together with Yumi and Soujiro. Saitō was left alive to mourn his men.

Now with ambitions to reclaim Japan and return it to the era of war, Shishio uses rumors and fear of his return to spread discourse among those that knew him and knew of him, without fully revealing himself in person yet. This includes most, if not all, members of the police and the new Meiji Government. This discourse was used to set up a massive battle in Kyoto between Shishio's men and a Government/Police coop - but the action was a distraction formulated to occupy the Meiji forces, allowing him to hijack the Japanese Battleship Rengoku to use as a weapon take Tokyo from the seas. He even went so far as to send a team of ninja dressed in copies of his bandages and kimono to distract Kenshin, whom Shishio has a personal interest in due to being Kenshin's predecessor from a similar time of war (he even refers to Kenshin, perhaps mockingly, as Sensei).

Shishio then kidnaps Kaoru to draw Kenshin to him to test him, possibly once and for all. Easily overpowering Kenshin, and unimpressed with his lack of seriousness and killing intent, Shishio lets Kaoru fall overboard, and Kenshin jumps into the sea after her.e

Now with the battleship at his seemingly free disposal, Shishio uses it to attack the shores of Tokyo before demanding an audience with the Prime Minister and his advisors, enforcers, etc., telling them that he will destroy Tokyo and the Government if his demands are not met, to which they begrudgingly oblige. One request was to publicly execute Kenshin, as Kenshin was himself a brutal Battousai from the same era as Shishio. Yet, he was allowed to live despite Shishio being betrayed and killed. This was more to force them to face their hypocrisy, rather than any kind of personal vendetta towards Kenshin.

Kenshin was rescued by his former master, who helped him to learn his ultimate technique through many days of vigorous training after Kenshin tearfully begged him to stop the greatest threat to Japan that currently exists. He then heads to Tokyo, having to face a few adversaries on the way, and arrived only to be arrested and taken to the police, where he was informed of his past crimes and sentenced to execution. Several days later, the execution date was set.

On the beach, in front of Shishio's retainers who were to bear witness, Kenshin was tied and at the mercy of his executioner, Saitō. As all things were coming together and Shishio's plan coming to fruition, Saitō cuts Kenshin loose and tosses him his sword, revealing the execution to be a ploy set up to get Kenshin as close to Shishio and his retainers as possible alongside Saitō and the rest of the Meiji and Police. A massive battle ensues, with forces on the beach fighting with rifles, swords, and various other weapons as the Rengoku fires rounds at them from the sea. Kenshin and his comrades eventually steal one of the lifeboats used to transport men from the Rengoku to the shore and take it back to the Rengoku where the battle continues on board, with Shishio awaiting the arrival of Kenshin below deck. Everything culminates in the final battle with Shishio alone against Kenshin, Saitō, Sanosuke, and Aoshi. At first, Shishio was easily overpowering them all. Still, slowly, Kenshin's Battousai state of mind was emerging (his killing intent was returning), while Shishio's body temperature was rising to dangerous and deadly levels.

After taking down Saitō, Sanosuke, and Aoshi, Shishio and Kenshin have one and one standoff. After a few clashes, Yumi starts to notice that Shishio's temperature is getting life-threatening and attempts to shield him from Kenshin to save Shishio's life. Kenshin stops, but Shishio stabs Yumi through her spine and into Kenshin, declaring that she purposefully sacrificed her life for his ambition, to which she replies that she was glad to do so. Facing each other one last time, the two fighters gather their strength for one final charge, and Shishio is sent flying, the sword broke, by Kenshin's ultimate technique: Amakakeru Ryū no Hirameki, and is incapacitated. Kenshin, now fatigued and unable to fight at this point, watch as Shishio struggles to stand, Yumi in his arms, and attempt to limp away as his body begins to fail. He claims that time chose Kenshin as the victor for fear of his ambition before his body consumed by fire, and he is burnt alive, laughing maniacally with his very last breaths. The fire spreads into the storage of gunfire and bombs, blowing holes into the hull of the ship as Kenshin escapes with his comrades. Rengoku then sinks, taking Shishio and his dark ambitions into the deepest, darkest depths along with it.


  • The name of the god used in his final Secret Sword Technique, Kagutsuchi, is known as the Shinto god of fire, and the last god birthed by Izanami-no-Okami, as his birth was so extremely painful, it killed her. Upon his birth, it would come to start the world's cycles of life and death, and establish the Shinto laws of Tsumi and Kegare after Izanagi's descent into Yomi and having sealed away his deceased wife, with her screaming in the curse that she would take away 1000 lives a day and himself swearing to replace those lives lost with 1500 born anew. Shishio's symbolical theming resembling that of embodying the cruel empire of Imperialist Showa Japan, turning to the vile and horrendous actions of colonialism and fascist movements perpetrated by western nations of its time, comes to use the mention of this god likely as meaning a fall from grace, honor, and innocence of the nation's former glory.
  • Perhaps as a morbid reference for future events to the Japanese audience, the Kagutsuchi may draw upon dark inspiration from the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake; along with wide spread superstitions and beliefs that the cause of the earthquake was an opening to the gates of hell, one of its most notorious events was the Rikugun Honjo Hifukusho fire devil disaster in Tokyo, in where 38,000 people residing in the facility were incinerated by the post quake city wide fires that were accelerated into a firestorm in less than 15 minutes. This is likely lost on overseas audiences, as the historic disaster is not as prevalent as is to native Japanese, and whose complete imagery prior to appearances in Shonen Jump fighting games and To Rule Flame is more rhetorical with this in mind.
  • The design inspiration for his younger self has been stated to come from Genjuro Kibagami of the Samurai Shodown/Samurai Spirits video game series created by SNK.


"Didn't I tell you? You're better off with a bang." – Shishio when grabbing Kenshin by his haori

"In my battle with the Battousai, the spirits were afraid of me and chose to side with him. But there are only evil people down here. That won't happen this time." –Shishio's last and final words